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  Adansonia digitata
  Family Name : Bombacaceae

  Common Names : Baobab, Dead Rat Tree, Monkey Bread, Cream of Tartar Tree, Ethiopian Sour Gourd, Upside-down Tree

Baobab,Dead Rat Tree,Monkey Bread,Cream of Tartar Tree,Ethiopian Sour Gourd,Upside-down Tree
  • Record Info
  • Life Stage & Characteristics
    • Plant Division :
      Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants)
      Plant Growth Form :
      Tree (Medium (16m-30m))
      Mode of Nutrition :
  • Biogeography
    • Native Distribution :
      Native Habitat :
      Preferred Climate Zone :
      Local Conservation Status :
  • Description & Ethnobotany
    • Plant Morphology :
      Growth Form: Large tree with a trunk that has an enormous girth, able to grow up to about 10 - 25 m tall.
      Trunk: Girth size usually between 3 - 10 m, but sometimes can reach up to 28 m wide. Bark is thick and fibrous and resistant to fire, termites and drought.
      Foliage: Green leaves borne at the end of the branches, alternate arrangement, each leaf has about 3 - 9 leaflets attached to a central point, each leaflet oblong to ovate in shape and measuring about 5 - 15 cm long and 3 - 7 cm wide, petiole measuring about 12 cm long.
      Flowers: White 5-petaled flowers with an unpleasant scent, measuring about 20 cm wide, pendulous and solitary in axillary positions, petals large and crinkly. 
      Fruits: Fruit is a cylindrical capsule covered with yellowish-brown hairs, measuring about 35 cm long and 13 cm wide, whitish powdery pulp inside which covers the small, black, kidney-shaped seeds, seeds measuring about 1 cm long.
      [Others]: In 1941, this tree was declared a protected tree under the Forest Act in South Africa.
      Etymology :
      Genus Adansonia is named after Michel Adanson (1727 - 1806), who was a French botanist in Senegal and author of the book, Familles des plantes. Species digitata means hand-shaped and refers to the shape of the leaves.
      Ethnobotanical Uses :
      Edible Plant Parts (Edible Fruits; Edible Leaves; Edible Seeds; Edible Roots)
      Food (Herb & Spice: The white, powdery pulp in the ripe fruits is mixed with milk to prepare a flavoured porridge. Leaves are also used as condiment and seasoning. )
      Medicinal (Leaves are used to treat kidney and bladder ailments, asthma, diarrhea and insect bites. The seeds are made into a paste and used for treatment of tooth and gum diseases. The roasted seeds can also be grounded into powder and mixed with water to treat gastric, kidney and joint diseases. ), Timber & Products (The wood is used to make rafts, canoes and floats for fishing nets. The bark from the lower part of the stem of younger trees produce a valuable fibre which can used to make ropes, fishing lines, bow strings, harness straps and fibre cloth. ), Cultural / Religious (It is a belief that the flowers are inhibited by spirits and that the decoction of the seeds will protect an individual from crocodile attacks.

      Heritage Tree :
      There is currently one individual of Adansonia digitata listed as a Heritage Tree in Singapore. It can be found in Singapore Botanic Gardens. To find out more about this tree, please visit the Heritage Tree Register.)
  • Landscaping Features
    • Desirable Plant Features :
      Ornamental Form, Fragrant
      Plant & Rootzone Preference/Tolerance :
      Dry Soils / Drought, Well-Drained Soils
      Landscape Uses :
      Parks & Gardens, Bonsai
  • Fauna, Pollination & Dispersal
    • Associated Fauna :
      Bat Food
      Pollination Method(s) :
      Biotic (Fauna)
  • Plant Care & Propagation
    • Light Preference :
      Full Sun
      Water Preference :
      Little Water
      Propagation Method :
  • Foliar
    • Mature Foliage Colour(s) :
      Foliar Type :
      Foliar Arrangement Along Stem :
      Foliar Attachment to Stem :
      Leaf Area Index (LAI) * for Green Plot Ratio :
      3.0 (Tree - Intermediate Canopy)
  • Floral (Angiosperm)
    • Flower Colour(s) :
      Flower Grouping :
      Flower Location :
  • Fruit, Seed & Spore
    • Mature Fruit Texture(s) :
      Velvety / Furry / Tomentose
      Mature Seed Colour(s) :
The information given on this website has been compiled from reference works on medicinal plants and/or pron only. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Reliance on this information is strictly at your own risk. You should always consult your physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.

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